The makers of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth want you to embrace the stress

There is a moment inside Final Fantasy VII Rebirth – one I won’t spoil, but I will say it’s not that moment – ​​when I could barely breathe. The story took a slight detour from the events of the original’s continuity, but not so much as to be completely different. Characters were in the same places and had the same attitudes as before, but were remixed exactly as they were. I had no idea how everything would work out, which stressed me out because up until that point I had been deeply invested in predicting how Rebirth would differ from its predecessor.

That fear is exactly what director Naoki Hamaguchi likes Final Fantasy VII Rebirthwants players to feel – along with a few other emotions.

“By making these changes,” says Hamaguchi, “we are creating this new sense of wonder, excitement and fear in a positive sense, which I think is the key to a work of entertainment.”

In an interview with The edgeHamaguchi and veteran Final fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase, who worked on the original FF7 And Remake / Rebirthtalk about the balancing act between honoring the 1997 original and creating something new.

“We’re creating this new sense of wonder, excitement and fear in a positive sense, which I think is key to a work of entertainment.”

Modern reinterpretations of “classic” games are not a new trend, but… Rebirth is unique because it falls between a standard current generation refresh, such as the Residential evil remakes and full reboots like the Tomb Raider trilogy of the 2010s.

There are a lot of opportunities in that middle space and Hamaguchi says for that Rebirththere were two key points he and his team kept in mind to maintain the balance between updating the old and creating something entirely new. The first was expression.

“There is so much more detail possible in what we can portray and express in many of these scenes,” Hamaguchi says through an interpreter. “We can certainly show it now [moments] that the original creators may have intended, but were unable to do so with the technology at the time.”

The use of technology for the purpose of expression is permitted Rebirth‘s developers to deepen existing canon events in such a way that they feel new without being new.

“Allowing players to make these kinds of new discoveries when experiencing these details was the first point we took care of.”

The second point was the recognition of that FF7‘s story needed to be changed somehow and figure out where those changes could be implemented effectively. Hamaguchi and Kitase worked to create a guessing game of sorts Rebirth, designed to keep players on their toes.

“As the story we follow Rebirth exactly the same, players’ overall excitement would decrease,” Hamaguchi explains. “For example, Zack was a character who died in the original game. But by bringing him back into the Remake series, we’ve created this sense of wonder and excitement in players who believe that maybe this is something else.”

Zack’s presence inside Rebirth was indeed something that made me wonder. He is quite a popular character and plays the lead role Crisis coreone of the FF7‘s prequel games, and I thought his inclusion might be a bit of fan service – especially considering he was supposed to be dead.

But Kitase says Zack’s resurrection didn’t happen in response to his popularity, but because characters were brought in from around the world FF7 universe, popular or obscure, was always the plan.

Zack and other characters such as Cissnei, also appear Crisis coreadd “spices,” says Kitase.

In my years of loyal service at the Final fantasy series, most of which I have kept up to date with FF7The lore of the game spread across multiple spin-off games starring or featuring music from one of my favorite J-rock artists. And the only through line is that it can get quite confusing.

Inside, this wasn’t much of a problem Remakebut things get a lot more complex when Rebirth begins. I wondered if resurrecting someone who is canonically dead while simultaneously introducing copies of Cloud and Aerith might complicate the already complicated story – especially for players who haven’t gone through a Gackt phase.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Image: Square Enix

Hamaguchi didn’t quite promise that the story wouldn’t be too unwieldy to follow, but did say that you wouldn’t need my level of knowledge. FF7 Lore concept to follow along.

‘There’s nothing like that [a player] wouldn’t understand it because they haven’t played the spin-off titles,” he says. “Everything you need to know is covered Rebirth.”

One of the main criticisms of Remake was that certain sections deviated too much from the original. Moments like Remake‘s Wall Market section, which once represented 20 minutes to an hour of gameplay, grew into hours-long slogs that unnecessarily padded relatively unimportant parts of the game.

“Everything you need to know is covered in ‘Rebirth.’”

Hamaguchi acknowledges the criticism, explaining that he felt it wasn’t so much the side stories themselves that were the problem, but that players couldn’t decide whether to pursue them. I was indeed touched by the tragic backstory of one of Don Corneo’s henchmen, but absolutely hated having to fight through yet another sewer dungeon to hear it. (Or catching ghosts, or finding someone’s lost wallet.)

Hamaguchi says these types of side stories are still present, but shouldn’t be as disruptive as they used to be Remake. “For Rebirththe volume of by-products is quite large,” he says. “But a key difference here is that players can now choose when to play the side content.”

Some of the ‘side content’ you can choose from is well worth the detour. The protorelian quests in particular – a series of treasure hunts looking for a collection of mysterious artefacts – surprised me with all the different activities you take part in. In the grassland area you have to thwart the efforts of a bunch of thugs. To win the protorelic housed there, in Corel you fight waves of cactuar to rack up points; while in Junon Cloud and the gang return to their polygonal shapes from 1997 to play the tower defense mini-game Fort Condor.

That variation, both in the story and in the gameplay, makes Rebirth a valuable expansion Final Fantasy VII – even if that means dealing with a little fear.

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